13 Apps to Watch Videos with Online Friends
It’s always great to get together with friends or family and hunker down on the couch to watch a movie or binge the latest must-see-TV. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get everyone in the same room together.
Luckily, there are a number of services that allow you to enjoy your favorite online content, like Netflix and YouTube in sync, no matter where you are. So whether you’re in a long-distance relationship, moved away from home, or want to stay connected with friends around the globe, you’ll want to check out this list.
Also helpful: if your friends are all on Instagram, you can watch videos together on the Instagram app.
- 1. TeleParty
- 2. Rave
- 3. Scener
- 4. YouTube Sync
- 5. Parsec
- 6. Amazon Watch Party
- 7. Twoseven
- 8. Syncplay
- 9. Watch2gether
- 10. Kast
- 11. Plex VR
- 12. Hulu Watch Party
- 13. Disney+ Groupwatch
- Frequently Asked Questions
TeleParty (formerly known as Netflix Party) is a browser extension and app exclusive to Google Chrome and Android. It allows users to synchronize video playback on multiple computers. The platform is completely free to use and supports Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video.
To use TeleParty, you must install the Chrome extension and pin it to your browser (or download the Android app), and set up a room to share the link with others. Once your friends arrive, TeleParty lets you engage with each other via a simple text chat interface.
Unfortunately, this method isn’t entirely foolproof. Everyone who joins your party needs access to a streaming service you select and must install the TeleParty Chrome Extension or use the Android mobile app. Also, TeleParty is currently only supported in Google environments, so iOS users can’t join the party.
Rave is another way to watch videos with online friends using your favorite streaming services. You can use the platform to watch television shows or movies from Netflix, Disney Plus, YouTube, Prime Video, HBO Max, and more. Rave is a downloadable app available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, meaning you can use it to watch something together, regardless of which devices your friends have.
To use Rave, everyone must first download the app and create a user profile, then one person can select the show and send the invitation link to everyone else or search for people via username and invite them. After that, everyone can sit back, watch, and talk during the show (if they want).
Unfortunately, Rave still comes with the caveat that all participants must have a subscription to the streaming platform they want to watch. However, Rave supports streaming from Vimeo and has its own library of free-to-stream items as well.
Good to know: Rave is just one of many Plex alternatives that can be used to stream from a variety of sources.
The Chrome extension Scener is not only a great way to host watch parties across all the most prominent platforms – it’s a whole social community. You can watch videos and movies from Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, YouTube, Funimation, Vimeo, Showtime, Tubi, and Alamo. It also features a full video chat, so you can type and see each other’s reactions as you watch.
Once you download the extension and create an account, select the streaming platform and video you wish to watch with friends. Then, send them the invitation code, and let the fun begin.
To see all of the features of Scener (like the video chat), you have to pay for the premium subscription. Also, everyone who joins in must have their own account on the streaming platform you choose. Finally, the chat opens in a separate window from the actual show or movie you choose, which can get somewhat confusing.
4. YouTube Sync
If you’re sticking with YouTube for your watch party, then you may not even have to download an app at all. YouTube Sync is a brilliant idea, embedding any YouTube video of your choice into a dedicated lobby that you can invite friends to.
The videos remain embedded in YouTube, so it’s all legally above board. Once you paste the link into the box on the site and create a lobby, just share the URL to the lobby with your friends, and you’ll all be watching the same video at the same time. Brilliant!
The biggest drawback to this option is, of course, that you’re limited to watching videos from YouTube. Also, unlike some of the other options we offered, YouTube Sync does not include a chat function, so you can’t talk while you watch unless you want to open a separate app to do so.
Tip: if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, share a specific part of a YouTube video with your friends.
Parsec’s main function isn’t to watch movies – it’s to stream entire games to your friends so that you can play couch co-op games online. However, Parsec doubles as a great way to watch movies with friends online.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with this method. First, you need to have a computer set up as the host, which requires some tech knowledge that non-gamers may not have. Also, because many streaming platforms have picked up on these login workarounds, you may find that the streaming platform blacks out the screen in some instances.
Those issues aside, it could be a great option for some users.
6. Amazon Watch Party
If you are watching a movie or television show on Amazon Prime, you and your friends can use Amazon Watch Party to view it together. No downloads or third-party apps are required: simply log in to your Amazon Prime account, select the video you want to watch, and grab the link to share.
There are several cons to this option. For starters, you are limited to Amazon Prime titles. The library is by far smaller than Netflix or Disney Plus. Additionally, you must have an Amazon Prime membership to use the Watch Party feature. Finally, you won’t be able to use Amazon Watch Party for titles that are pay-to-rent.
Also helpful: learn which Amazon Fire TV option is best for you.
Created by a couple who had to spend long periods apart in their relationship, twoseven is designed with simplicity in mind and runs straight from your browser.
Twoseven supports Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu, HBO Max, and Crunchyroll at the time of writing. However, it also lets you watch private videos either person has on their PC. (Only one of you has to own the video.) There’s even a twoseven Chrome extension that instantly lets you know if a video on a given website is supported in the app and lets you share it with your friend with a couple of clicks.
That’s not all. The browser-based app has built-in text and video capabilities, so you don’t have to rely on an external video chat app to see your friend and share your video-viewing experience with them face-to-face.
Multi-platform and compatible with all the biggest video player apps (including VLC, KM Player, and Media Player Classic), Syncplay is a free tool that allows you to sync video streams with friends. Store the movies you want to watch locally on your hard drive, then once you set it up, it’s just a case of you and your friend saying you’re “Ready to Watch” and hitting the Play button.
Either person can pause and rewind the stream, and it’s a great way to get the comfort of using your favorite video player while watching movies together. Just know that you can’t use it with streaming platforms, even if you “download” the movie from Netflix.
Good to know: you can troubleshoot Netflix if you are having issues watching alone or with others.
With Watch2gether, watching videos online with friends in real-time is fairly straightforward. There is no registration required: all you need is a temporary nickname.
To get started, click the “Create a Room” button on its home page. Type in your temporary nickname, and it will bring you to a video (and chat) room, where you can start adding friends to chat. You have the option to either invite your own friends to a room that you created or join a room that is already in operation, and become a part of the viewing party and conversation.
The nice part about Watch2gether is that you can select or search video sources from YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Twitch, or TikTok, and can access audio from SoundCloud. The unfortunate part is that you cannot access streaming services with it.
Kast differs from many of the other services mentioned on this list in that it is not limited to only syncing video streams. Instead, Kast allows users to essentially “share” a browser. This enables users to sync all sorts of content across multiple devices remotely. While syncing videos from Netflix or YouTube may be the initial draw, Kast can also sync games, documents, and more.
Getting up and running with Kast is a breeze. Download its desktop client for Windows or macOS, or simply use the Web version (only supported on the Chrome browser) to start a session. From here, create your party or join an existing live stream.
Tip: share your screen with Facebook friends to watch videos online or just chat.
11. Plex VR
Plex VR takes syncing video to a whole other level. Instead of simply sharing a screen, Plex VR allows you to share a virtual loft apartment, drive-in theatre, or creepily barren “void” with your friends and loved ones.
In these virtual spaces, you can chat with your friends and watch videos sourced from one of the user’s Plex media libraries. Videos are synced so that all users experience the video simultaneously. However, users can independently change the size and the position of the screen to suit their preferences. Finally, to top it all off, everyone has a cute Duplo-like avatar representing them in the room.
Plex VR is the most complicated way to remotely share streaming content with friends, and potentially the most expensive. For all this to work, all participants must have Google Daydream or Meta Quest 2-compatible hardware. You must also have a Plex server set up and ready to go as well.
12. Hulu Watch Party
As you may have noticed, many suggested options to watch videos online with friends don’t support Hulu. Luckily, Hulu Watch Party is an exclusive way for Hulu users to watch movies and television shows together from different locations.
To use Hulu Watch Party, each participant must have their own profile on a Hulu account. You must also watch via web browser, unless all participants have iOS or tvOS devices. Finally, you must verify that the title you select has the Watch Party icon before you begin streaming.
Also helpful: even if you live outside the U.S., you can watch Hulu by using Tunlr.
13. Disney+ Groupwatch
Although you can bundle your Hulu and Disney Plus subscriptions together, you’ll need to use Disney+ Groupwatch to watch videos with online friends if they’re on Disney+.
This platform works almost identically to Hulu. First access Disney Plus through your web browser or on mobile, then choose the title you want to watch. Select the GroupWatch icon, then share the link with other participants to get the party started.
Disney+ Groupwatch is limited to Disney Plus titles, and all participants need a profile on Disney Plus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, Netflix has disabled the ability to use screen share features on video conferencing apps like Zoom. If you try to share a video streaming on Netflix over Zoom or other platforms, the video feed will be blacked out for other participants, and they will only hear the audio.
YouTube TV is one of the most restricted streaming platforms available. You cannot use third-party applications like TeleParty or Rave to watch YouTube TV together. The best you can do is add friends to your family group so that everyone can access the same shows from different locations.
Can I host a watch party with Apple TV?
Currently, twoseven is the only third-party application we found that supports Apple TV. However, Apple TV does have its own way to watch videos online with friends: it’s called SharePlay. SharePlay basically hosts a watch party over FaceTime, which means it is limited to people who use Apple devices.
Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Megan Glosson.
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